Along with your palate and your knife skills, your choice of footwear is crucial to a successful time in the kitchen.
Your whole level of service, comfort and enjoyment at work stands on what you wear on your feet. You can't afford to get this wrong; it can cost you repeat purchase fees or even your health if you slip on the hard kitchen floor.
We have put together 10 tips for picking the perfect chef's shoes.
1. You Definitely Need Slip Resistance
Oil, grease, water, soap, spilled food... all potential metaphorical banana skins that could lead you to slipping and falling. That hard kitchen floor is pretty unforgiving.
Even more unforgiving is the hot, fresh-from-the-stove food you were carrying and have now poured over yourself and your colleague.
Make sure this problem is removed by choosing chef's shoes with a slip resistant sole. Helping to keep you safe and on your feet during service.
2. You MUST Choose Something Comfortable
Although you won't cover that many miles in distance during the long 12 hour shift, you will be spending literally half a day stood on your own two feet.
Proper arch supports, cushioned heel units and breathable uppers are a must. The two former will protect your back, legs and joints; the latter will keep your feet fresh and help prevent sores or fungal infections.
Not nice, we know, but something that all experienced chefs will tell you is a problem arising from poorly chosen chef's shoes.
3. Look For Removable Insoles
With shoes that have removable insoles you can easily change your insoles to suit your arch structure and gait.
For help on finding the insoles you need, head to a specialist running shop. Most of these places will analyse your gait and foot placement and be able to advise you on which type of arch support you need to distribute your weight evenly, safely and comfortably.
A removable insole can also aid the washing process.
4. Presentation Is Important
Will you be heading to the front of house to see your diners - either socially or as part of the table service? If so, you might need something more presentable than industrial looking.
If heading out of the kitchen isn't in your job description, you are free to choose something that is focused solely on comfort and safety as opposed to incorporating pleasing aesthetics too.
5. Research Your Options
You are busy enough as it is, the idea of research may be off putting to some. But it's worth your time and effort.
You can find a variety of companies offering chef's shoes on the internet, all proclaiming to be the best. You need to find a pair that meets all your safety and comfort concerns.
7. Invest In A Sensible Option
At the risk of sounding like your mother, don't be tempted to buy something just because it looks good.
You need comfort, safety and longevity in order to provide full cost effectiveness. The cost of a shoe that provides all three of these is sometimes daunting but, in the long run, it's an investment which is worthwhile.
Don't be tempted into buying a generic shoe as they leave you feeling uncomfortable, unsafe and needing a new pair quickly.
8. Look For Toe Protection
Whilst being slip resistant is a major, key feature, there are other safety precautions to consider.
Sharp knives, heavy pans and hot objects being dropped are a natural occurrence. If your toes are going to be underneath them, your shoes are best having at least some form of protection.
Depending on your exact role within the kitchen, you can decide just how much toe protection you need in your chef shoes or clogs.
9. You Need Something Easy To Clean
Whilst on the theme of drops and spills, it's unhygienic and bad practice to work with dirty shoes. The spilling of food and sauces on your feet is bound to happen, so your shoes need to be easily cleaned.
Look for wipe clean, non absorbent materials.
10. Choose Between Lace-Ups or Slip-Ons
This one probably depends, like point 4, on how much time you spend heading out the kitchen.
Most likely, laces are a needless trip hazard. Laces coming undone and possibly tripping you up is something that can be avoided by wearing slip on shoes or clogs. It's also unhygienic and time consuming to have to stop and tie your laces that have traipsed along the floor.
If you do need something more presentable than a classic chef's clog, maybe look for something with the appearance of laces only.
Buy a pair of smart, slip-resistant and durable work shoes
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